After reading the Dec. 21 news story on Gov.-elect Janet Mills’ nominee for transportation commissioner (“Mills taps turnpike official for transportation chief,” Page B1), I couldn’t help but wonder what role Bruce Van Note played, if any, in the embezzling scandal at the Maine Turnpike Authority involving the then-director, Paul Violette.

Also, at no point in the story is there any mention of Note’s and Mills’ plan, or lack of a plan, to expand public transportation in Maine. Coming from the turnpike authority, which is continually pushing to expand highways and not public transportation, Van Note’s nomination is cause for worry.

Considering our global climate crisis and the dire warning of the recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, it is essential that a shift toward public transportation be at the top of the list of priorities of any transportation chief. Considering that public transportation has been officially dismissed at state, national and municipal levels for decades, hearing no mention of it from Van Note or from the reporter is of grave concern.

Paul Cunningham

South Portland

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